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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I thought this expedition was fantastic in every respect. It was very educational with the lecturers by the naturalists and photographers. The Orion hotel staff and cruise were helpful and friendly at all times as were the naturalists and ... Read More
I thought this expedition was fantastic in every respect. It was very educational with the lecturers by the naturalists and photographers. The Orion hotel staff and cruise were helpful and friendly at all times as were the naturalists and photographers. I met a fantastic group of people from many parts of the world. Antarctica was nothing short of spectacular particularly the colour of the ice against the various aspects of the sun and the wildlife. The wildlife and the story of Shackleton on South Georgia was incredible as was the history of the Falkland Islands. I am vision impaired and I had a huge challenge to convince those in charge of this expedition that I am capable of doing this expedition on my own. I am proud that I have been able to do this on my own and want to encourage Lindblad and National Geographic to see how they can make their expeditions more accessible for people with a disability and to ensure that if a person with a disability applied for one of their expeditions that they are not pre judged on whether they are able to do the expedition or not but look at how this can be done and providing the traveller with vital facts so that an informed decision on travel can be made in the first place. In most instances minor adjustments are all that are required. Well done to all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Cruising with Linblad/Nat Geo was as opportunity to observe wildlife on the 7th Continent while having naturalist readily available to answer questions. Captain Martin Graser and his bridge crew were readily available, friendly and ... Read More
Cruising with Linblad/Nat Geo was as opportunity to observe wildlife on the 7th Continent while having naturalist readily available to answer questions. Captain Martin Graser and his bridge crew were readily available, friendly and professional. They were also instrumental in spotting wildlife. We enjoyed exploring the departure cities of Santiago and Ushuaia. The cities of Sewell and Valparaiso were educational experiences that we elected to visit by arriving to Chile a few days early. The onboard WiFi did not work a couple days at sea and upon return to Ushuaia, the day before disembarking. The land excursions were a blast. It was great to get some exercise, as well as observe wildlife up close. Being able to walk on fast ice while the ship was parked on it was a pleasant surprise. Upon return to the ship after the land excursions we cleaned our boots in sheep dip. Please ensure any chemicals used are DO NOT organophosphates (OP). "The majority of former sheep dips investigated to date are contaminated with persistent dip chemicals at levels that are hazardous to humans, livestock and the environment. Arsenic and the organochlorine pesticide dieldrin are the two main contaminants found at sheep dips sites." Upon return to the ship, all passengers step in to the sheep dip and then walk through the ship to our cabins. This causes the sheep dip to be carried throughout the ship. Even more disconcerting, the ship's crew is exposed to the OP's for longer periods since they stay on the ship for multiple trips. Please closely inspect the food during loading and preparation. A mosquito was found in a lunch dish and a green inch worm was found in a dinner soup. The dinner host was informed. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The waiting area at the Holiday Inn upon return to Santiago was greatly appreciated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Some people are called to Antarctica, and the Orion took us there in luxury for our adventures. The crew was outstanding in all ways as were the various expert naturalists and photographers. It was fun to hear the captain tell us about ... Read More
Some people are called to Antarctica, and the Orion took us there in luxury for our adventures. The crew was outstanding in all ways as were the various expert naturalists and photographers. It was fun to hear the captain tell us about how we were going to maneuver to avoid storms and the itinerary would change due to weather conditions -- but we always landed in great spots or explored with the zodiacs. We did the trip that included the Falklands and South Georgia Island as well as Antarctica. Lindblad had wonderful warm jackets ready for us and we rented boots to save packing space. It was a little warmer than we might have expected and we overpacked -- we were ready for the true South Pole. The atmosphere of the trip was very casual -- on board and at meals people were happy in jeans and sweatshirts or whatever was most comfortable. We were glad to bring home a nice video that was prepared by a specialist on the trip -- he had it all ready by the day we left and it nicely reflects all that we saw. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 7th cruise with Lindblad. We go with Lindblad/NatGeo because of the smaller ship size (72 people on this one), the knowledgeable and expert staff and the very high quality of the crew. We toured the Tumumatu Atolls and ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise with Lindblad. We go with Lindblad/NatGeo because of the smaller ship size (72 people on this one), the knowledgeable and expert staff and the very high quality of the crew. We toured the Tumumatu Atolls and the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, visiting 17 in 15 days. Some had not seen a cruise ship stop there and many did not have any people where we swam, snorkeled, kayaked and hiked. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather. Every day offered a number of activities. The crew and Lindblad staff always were looking for what may be the most interesting or most rewarding. They would work closely with the Captain (who mingled with the guests on most days) to put the ship where we could best partake in the events. Flexibility was always high on the list and offered everyone the chance to get between activities when they wanted to do so. Another very strong attribute of the trip is the access to many experts of the Lindblad staff as well as those they bring on board. We had at least 5 naturalists, 3 cultural experts, underwater experts and certified photography experts. We also had the head of Nat Geo's Natural History photography on the trip. All of them reach out constantly and are there to answer, assist and suggest ways to get the absolute best out of the venture. If that is not enough, the Bridge is open and the Captain and Co-Captain would personally discuss the ship operation and navigation. As for other attributes, the Chef and kitchen staff did a fabulous job. Many choices, fresh offerings, and constant availability. Ice cream bars brought to the beach and greeting us after a drift snorkeling experience! The hotel staff knows everyone by name and is always ready to serve you. I would not pick Lindblad if you are looking for a large fitness center (you don't have time to use it anyway), a casino (none), entertainment (the crew do a great job and the recaps are entertaining as well as the Hotel Manager), multiple pools (there is one spa) or shore excursions that hit popular places (they hired all the transport, which was 6 trucks on one island). However, if you are seeking an immersive experience and want to be with sharp and interesting people from all walks-of-life, you would be hard-pressed to find a better choice in Lindblad Expeditions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Chosen as a frequent traveler when offered a discount. Went with a travel buddy and shared a forward cabin. Lovely even if a bit small. It took a fair amount of rolling making the first 3 days a bit unsettling. As we went south we were in ... Read More
Chosen as a frequent traveler when offered a discount. Went with a travel buddy and shared a forward cabin. Lovely even if a bit small. It took a fair amount of rolling making the first 3 days a bit unsettling. As we went south we were in calmer seas and enjoyed the ship not only as an adventure but as a guest of the "hotel". The crew on the Orion is proud of its staff and well it should be. Always smiling, they freshened our cabin daily, served us with glorious food. Even opened a new bottle of wine that was not offered that night, just for me. The sailors took great care to assist us into the Zodiacs for forays to the beach to snorkel. I was assisted by one of the expedition onto a paddleboard, instructed how to stand and off I went into the blue water, master of my own rig. Exciting. I learned to snorkel with their help. The photography staff helped me to take better pictures and showed me how to get underwater videos with my GoPro. We visited villages on 3 islands, greeted with enthusiasm with welcoming ceremonies, native dances and food. The ethnomusiciologist heard the choir of a Christian church on a previous cruise and asked them to come on the day we were to arrive (Wednesday) and sing for u s. They agreed, rushed home from work to dress in their Sunday finery and be at church when we arrived at 4PM. Their singing was so heartful that we were all inspired. We were happy that the pastor asked them to stand in a line to greet us all as we left. We hugged and kissed in the proper French way, one of the cruisers received a hat from one of the congregants. Merci's and bon voyage to us all as we thanked them for giving us the opportunity to hear hymns in their Polynesian language. On the last night, we had the opportunity to thank the captain, meet and thank the chef. thank our servers, and to clap for those crew members who were in the engine room, who kept the ship moving. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this trip because of our wonderful experience with Lindblad in the Galapagos and our understanding from Lindblad that this would be an expedition with varied land experiences in small groups with a top notch team of knowledgeable ... Read More
We chose this trip because of our wonderful experience with Lindblad in the Galapagos and our understanding from Lindblad that this would be an expedition with varied land experiences in small groups with a top notch team of knowledgeable guides with an A+ Expedition Cruise organization. The further bonus was the opportunity for great diving while on the trip. Sadly, it did not live up to our expectations or the standards we would expect from Lindblad. On the Plus Side: The boat is great and one of their nicer ships. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, the food is excellent and the staff couldn't be better. The diving was exactly what we expected based on our discussions with Michelle Graves. The dive masters were excellent and the rental equipment was new and of high quality. We actually ended up diving more than we had planned and this ended up being the highlight of the trip (as well as an additional expense beyond the cost of the expedition). The scenery is beautiful and the waters are warm. All the expedition staff are friendly and accessible, and it was wonderful to have a world renowned photographer on board with us! What could have been better: This was the first time Lindblad has done this itinerary in some years and it showed. Most of the expedition staff made it clear they were unfamiliar with the area; Shore excursions were generally in large groups ... between 25 and in one case close to 60 people together -- and with just a single person leading the group in each case. This happened three days in a row! This was precisely what we had been assured would NOT be the case. There were only two opportunities for hiking during the week and one was available on a first-come-first serve basis to less than 30 people on a boat of 94. We were shut out of this opportunity. Something else that should not happen with Lindblad. Historical French Polynesian culture is largely gone and so most land excursions involved seeing archeological sites which are interesting but not all that varied from island to island. As a diver, we expected to have to choose between diving and water activities. However, it was almost always a choice between diving and the very few land excursions. On one day the entire diving group (11 people) chose to skip the diving in order to participate in the land excursion. The only excursion on the last day was a one hour visit to a pearl farm, but this was made available during the only time diving could take place (in the morning) given that diving is prohibited 24 hours prior to flying. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I prefer comfortable travel but with an adventurous edge. We had previously enjoyed an expedition-style cruise to the Galapagos Islands and were intrigued by the prospect of visiting another relatively untouched environment in ... Read More
My wife and I prefer comfortable travel but with an adventurous edge. We had previously enjoyed an expedition-style cruise to the Galapagos Islands and were intrigued by the prospect of visiting another relatively untouched environment in Antarctica. We hoped the trip would be strongly flavored with lectures and input from on-board specialists, and in this, it did not disappoint. The ship crew (dining, hotel, etc.) and expedition crew (naturalists, photographers, etc) were uniformly enthused, engaged and AVAILABLE! Any concerns, queries, even casual conversation, was routinely met with satisfying answers from apparently interested people. The expedition crew was encouraged to sit with guests at meals (tables were open and unassigned), and their stories greatly enhanced the lively exchanges at mealtimes. A note on the Drake Passage: many (most?) of the passengers had apprehensions about becoming seasick on the passage from South America to Antarctica. To that end, most (including my wife and I) sported "the patch," a Scopolamine-laces bandaid that sticks behind one ear and lasts for three days or so. Passengers who took precautions (i.e. medications of one sort or another) seemed completely unphased by the significant swell (4+ meters) we experienced. Those who chose to go "unprotected," were "hit and miss." Additionally, ther midship and lower-deck location of our stateroom left us less vulnerable to the larger roller or pitching actions experienced on smaller ships such as ours. Seas were smooth on both sides of the passage, but I can't stress strongly enough the impact on your enjoyment by taking the necessary mediation precautions. (I experienced no drowsiness or other untoward reactions to mypatchs, just comfort.) Lindbladt/National Geographic provided a strong value-added component to this trip. I was able to sign out (at no charge) long length zoom lenses for my camera, a chance to play with new equipment and at the same time enhance my photography. The Zodiac rides were smooth and safe. Close up access to seals, penguins and even whales left us all saying "It just doesn't get any better!" Going into this trip, I was apprehensive, even doubtful, that the experience could possibly justify the very significant costs incurred. It turned out to be an education and a thrill. I was very happy with our trip and it was worth every penny. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose Linblad/National Geographic (Nov. 29th-Dec. 19th, 2017) because of the reputation of National Geographic. Touring Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island (the Serengeti of the Antarctic), South Shetland Islands, South Orkney ... Read More
We chose Linblad/National Geographic (Nov. 29th-Dec. 19th, 2017) because of the reputation of National Geographic. Touring Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island (the Serengeti of the Antarctic), South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands, and ultimately Antarctica was truly a trip of a lifetime. Bit of a cliche perhaps but it truly was awe-inspiring and life changing to walk amongst hundreds of thousands of penguins, seals, and sea birds. The crew on the National Geographic Orion, at every level, were friendly, helpful, anticipatory, informative, and a lot of fun! This was a very active cruise on a smaller ship (about 100 passengers) that offered different levels of hikes plus zodiac tours all with a specialist, most of whom had PhDs in their respective fields. Who knew that a lecture on the cryosphere (all things ice) could be so interesting? We learned so much about the flora and fauna of the Antarctic zone and saw so many marine animals, birds, and interesting plants. The food on board was always fresh (how do they do it when at sea for 3 weeks?), every meal different, and the bar a lively spot after a day of hiking and photographing these wonderful Antarctic creatures. We saw both fin whales and humpbacks feeding so close to the ship and even on a zodiac tour! The captain and expedition leader both get a shout-out as they endeavored to find areas of discovery teaming with wildlife while taking advantage of excellent weather conditions. Those few days we transited at sea between the Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica passengers availed themselves of yoga/stretch classes, stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical machines, and 40 laps on the 6th deck=2 miles! Additional lectures added, during transit days, to our growing knowledge of this unique part of the world. Ultimately seeing these creatures in the wild led us, personally, to a decision to be more proactive in our support both financially and in sending emails to our elected representatives about the importance of this fragile area of our planet. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this trip because it visited the Basque Country, Santiago de Compostela and Oporto, all places we wanted to see. Having been on three previous Nat Geo trips, we knew they were tops. This one even exceeded the other because,the ... Read More
We chose this trip because it visited the Basque Country, Santiago de Compostela and Oporto, all places we wanted to see. Having been on three previous Nat Geo trips, we knew they were tops. This one even exceeded the other because,the Orion is a luxurious ship. You always have top professional guidance and leadership and this was no exception. Nine exceptionally qualified professional leaders, many with PhDs or working towards one. Includes three professional photographers, all willing to be very helpful whether you have a fancy camera or an iPhone. The crew, all from the Phillipines, were also exceptional. Hard working, caring, personable...the best! Highly recommend Nat Geo/Lindblad trips. The other passengers are all very bright, interesting people. The food was outstanding, often reflecting the cuisine of the area we were visiting that day. Two completely interchangeable menus every night, one more gourmet and one more traditional...everything delicious! The local guides are also excellent and the touring groups a manageable size. Everything well organized. We spent four nights in Bordeaux before embarking and five nights in Lisbon after the cruise. Definitely recommend doing this as the cruise concentrates on the actual ports for exploration. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see Iceland and the Faroe Islands. I'm quite interested in the characteristics of the polar regions of our planet, and this seemed to be a good way to do it. I was not disappointed. A few ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see Iceland and the Faroe Islands. I'm quite interested in the characteristics of the polar regions of our planet, and this seemed to be a good way to do it. I was not disappointed. A few notes: The itinerary had to be changed because of storms in the North Sea. This worked out well for me, but may not have been so for others. Travelers should note that Lindblad specifically states in their contract that changes are possible. There was a wide variety of expertise among the staff, from ornithology to ethnomusicology to geology. We also had a native Icelander on board. This provided good breath of understanding of what we were seeing. This cruise had significantly more bus tours than other Lindblad cruises I have been on. This is not a negative comment as the tours were well done. It's just a note for expedition cruisers. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, but with only ~82 passengers there should have been no problems. The cuisine was excellent, but perhaps the presentation was overly fussy. Dining room and bar service was quick and efficient. My only real complaint is that the solo cabins (only 3 in the least expensive category) are poorly located. Mine was also had excessive engine noise. Because of this, I think the Orion is not the best Lindblad ship for solo travelers. Read Less
National Geographic Orion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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